Top 10 tips for starting a business
Starting your own business is both scary and exhilarating at the same time. It’s a kind of rollercoaster ride for entrepreneurs. Everyone quotes statistics, rightly or wrongly, about how many businesses fail in the first year of existence, so any advice from someone who has been there and done that – successfully – is like a nugget of gold.
We asked our Founder and CEO, Gavin Lucas, for his top tips when it comes to starting your own business.
In the very early days of Stor-Age, we were able to attract investors within weeks of starting the company, with a self storage site that hadn’t yet been developed, using a business model that hadn’t yet been successfully tested, by two twenty-something-year olds who didn’t have much industry experience. We had a clear vision from day one, and we had the drive, passion, commitment and belief that we could make it work.
We also stuck to a few fundamentals, ones which allowed us to steer the ship in the right direction without being influenced by distractions.
Here are my Top 10 start-up tips for budding entrepreneurs:
- Start small. Starting small is an excellent way to get going, as opposed to starting with mammoth objectives of taking over the world. Small but bold steps, one day at a time with an eye to the future. When the time is right, make that big, calculated move.
- Do your research. There was no hard data available for self storage in South Africa in 2006, so we spent time in first world markets, with industry associations and industry leaders and did an industry study. This meant we were able to foretell with confidence how the sector would develop in the SA market.
- Be willing to work very, very hard. We knew starting a self storage company in South Africa in 2006 would present various challenges big enough to put off most ardent and committed wannabe entrepreneurs. We worked hard at developing a strategy to get the company off the ground, all while I was working full-time finishing my articles.
- Stay constantly focused. You cannot grab every opportunity which comes across your desk. You’ll end up too thinly spread, losing productiveness and efficacy. Remaining focused and sticking to your strategy is key.
- Raising start-up capital is important. Co-operate with reliable partners and always do your research.
- Learn from your mistakes. Failure is a fact of life, and while you haven’t gone into business expecting to fail, there is no way of getting around this reality. Each step is a learning curve.
- Don’t forget your roots. Stay humble on your way up and remember why you started on your journey. You never know who you may meet along the way that may play a key role in your business growth in the future.
- Build a culture of learning. At Stor-Age we want our team members to be the best they can be, so we encourage them to grow and develop continuously. Staff receive regular feedback on their progress, as well as the opportunity for further training both in-person and via our bespoke e-learning platform.
- Don’t seek risk. Being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t have to mean you’re a corporate daredevil. It's about knowing how to understand, manage and minimise risks.
- Focus on good service: Stor-Age sets itself apart from other self storage companies through the quality of our convenient locations, our purpose-built storage centres and also by offering the best service in the industry. People don’t easily forget good service.
Starting a business can be tough, but if you stick to your strategy and apply a few fundamentals, you will achieve the success you are looking for.